Senate debates

Monday, 2 December 2019

Questions without Notice

Murray-Darling Basin

2:56 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party, Minister for Agriculture) Share this | Hansard source

Senator Hanson-Young, I reject the underlying premise of your question. In August this year, our government announced the establishment of the Inspector-General of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources as an independent statutory position holding all Commonwealth and state water agencies to account on their Basin Plan commitments and the laws governing water use. The basin ministers unanimously endorsed the new position, and the interim inspector-general has been out and about in basin communities, listening to them and working with them since his appointment. To suggest that nothing's happening, because the legislation hasn't gone through the parliament, is really misrepresenting how seriously the government takes this and how seriously Mr Keelty takes his role. The inspector-general will be able to refer issues to the relevant authorities to ensure that the laws governing water use are followed, including investigations into allegations of water theft. He'll work with communities across the entire basin, with support staff in regional areas in the northern and southern basins. (Time expired)

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